THE TASK AT HAND No contract is without its trials. With rail fleet contracts, timing is everything. Cleaners need to be not only at the right station, but the right platform too. Churchill’s managers and supervisors have complete oversight of all their staff and communication between all parties is key. Schedule changes are inevitable, and cleaners on the ground are prepared to be reactive and proactive. Tight turnarounds between journeys need to be as slick as a Grand Prix pit-stop, and if need be, some tasks take priority above others. Tank cleaning and waste disposal, for example, are top of the list.

“For train fleet cleaning, meticulous planning is required to organise staff across multiple networks.”

Hundreds of staff have been mobilised across large geographical spreads, conducting both turnaround and in-transit cleans. They also perform external cleans at over 40 depots overnight, so the trains are ready to continue with service the following day. GTR stipulated that it was a priority that all cleaners were hired locally, and Churchill has met this key objective.

Logistically, the complexity of transport cleaning is unrivalled. Furthermore, actual cleaning itself is also highly specialist, such as ‘hand bashing’ (the scrubbing down of a train exterior), or even the sombre requirement for a specially-trained Fatality Cleaning Team, such as the one based at Three Bridges station for the ongoing and increasing situation of rail suicide.

Just fulfilling the contract is not enough though. To monitor service and performance levels, Churchill created a dedicated ‘Innovation Panel’ to drive regular strategic reviews between joint in-house experts to discuss how service can be continuously improved.

Tight timescales not only put cleaning staff under pressure, but passengers too. And often, cleaners become the scapegoat for frustrated travellers when trains are delayed or cancelled. Cleaners are prepared for such situations, as Churchill created a fully customised GTR staff training handbook for guidance and encouragement of a unified best practice approach to such scenarios.

Time-keeping was not the only consideration during mobilisation. Few sectors are as heavily unionised as the rail sector, and cleaning operatives are no exception. Unions have their own recourse for flagging concerns directly to management. As such, Churchill fostered an environment of collaboration with relevant union representatives for the benefit of both management and staff from day one.

OUT OF THE BOX Churchill’s service is people and technology-led. A bespoke real-time reporting solution (via intranet portal) called MapTag enables staff to log all activity via smartphone. In addition, state-of-the-art equipment is utilised to streamline processes.

A Purex water system produces chemical-free, deionised water for cleaning. The system is self-

replenishing and produces pure water by passing tap water through reverse osmosis and/or de-mineralising bead filters, with numerous benefits. Namely, it absorbs and removes dirt and bacteria efficiently to leave a residue-free finish on any surface. As an added bonus, the Purex system is 100% sustainable.

THE BOTTOM LINE Churchill has transformed performance across the contract, with significant uplift in the National Rail Passengers Survey (NRPS). Passenger Experience Metrics (PEM) increased in all key measures including; a 13.4% increase across all cleaning related metrics for all four GTR franchises; 10.2% increase in train cleanliness inside and outside; and specifically on the Gatwick Express network a 91% good/satisfied rating.

For Churchill, these results have incurred more business with the partnership continuing to evolve beyond its original delivery to Southern Rail and Gatwick Express in 2012.

In addition to fleet cleaning across all four networks, as of October last year Churchill was successful in a significant new competitive tender process for station cleaning. This was a substantial new addition to the overall service delivery model for GTR. The new contract spread across a considerable geographical area, and incorporates almost 100 stations across the South East, including iconic stations such as London Blackfriars.

Churchill delivered a seamless and professional mobilisation, meeting all defined objectives and timeframes. Prior to formally ‘going live’, Churchill implemented enhanced engagement and training programmes with their new cleaning teams (transferred via TUPE) to visibly improve motivation and accountability as well as initial significant investment in innovative equipment and systems across the contract.

As a result, GTR represents a formidable cornerstone of Churchill’s growing presence in the rail and wider transportation industry, building Churchill’s own cleaning network on the railways even further. TRANSPORT CLEANING | 37

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